The French attitude towards photography is very different to ours as shown by this exhibition. During our recent round France trip we visited some friends in the small hamlet of Barro, 300 residents, just north of Bordeaux and much to my surprise the exhibition we had been told would be on at this time was held outdoors throughout the village.
Each year there is a theme and this year it was Reportage, just up my street! There were over 1000 images displayed without pretension. The large prints were simply stapled to hardboard sheets and the displayed in peoples hedges, screwed to garage doors, arranged on makeshift easels in a couple of fields, not forgetting the barn, church and, of all places, the river. The prints ranged from 20x16 to 30x24 and seemed to be printed on waterproof paper. It was raining quite hard during our visit. This is one of the major photo events in France, on the opening day 3000 people came to this small hamlet and Leica were there.
The standard of work was very high, the most memorable body of work was a series on women in jail by Jane Alwood. The images from America were particularly harrowing as this is supposed to be a civilised country.
I got very enthusiastic about this style of presentation and thought that we could do something similar for the Aldridge Project but then common sense prevailed. The exhibition was in a small community who were proud of their exhibition’s record, all the visitors had to make a special journey to a remote part of France to see it so there was no vandalism. Can you imagine the result if we did such a thing on the Croft? The website for the exy is here.